ROME — The five judges presiding the second hearing of the Dolce and Gabbana tax case at the highest court level are regrouping behind closed chamber doors to issue their sentence later today.

 

While the judges did not provide a precise timing, the verdict is expected after 5 p.m. here. In the morning, general prosecutor Francesco Salzano in his speech refuted the appeals presented at the Corte suprema di Cassazione , Italy’s equivalent of the Supreme Court, by the lawyers for the defendants: Stefano Gabbana, Alfonso and Domenico Dolce, Cristiana Ruella, Giuseppe Minoni and Luciano Patelli. The defendants, who were not in attendance, are appealing a guilty verdict handed down by a Milan appeals court in April. The Cassazione is to determine if there were any procedural flaws or breaches at a lower court level.

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Salzano defined the recourses as “unfounded” and requested a slight reduction of jail time from the 18 months inflicted at the appeals court level as the payment of VAT taxes for 2005 has exceeded the statute of limitations. None of the defendants, who have always denied any wrongdoing, is likely to actually serve any jail time, given the Italian practice of waiving incarceration for sentences of less than two years.

 

Salzano believes that Dolce and Gabbana are to be considered “responsible” for their activities in setting up their Luxembourg-based holding Gado Srl as much as the other defendants individually, claiming that “operations there were secondary and marginal” and that Gado operated without autonomy from the Milan headquarters. Lawyers for the defendants took the floor reiterating the existence of Gado as a legitimate and operative company and Massimo Dinoia, acting for the designers, also underscored how “being made aware of the facts does not mean to concur” in any action.

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